Bringing together equipment and expertise is the effective way to deliver energy-efficient systems incorporating energy-efficient pumps, believes Gary Wheatley of Wilo UK.
It’s clear that energy-efficient pumps, either through choice or driven by legislation such as the ErP Directive from Europe, will contribute towards lower costs, lower energy use and reduced levels of emissions — all good things to target and strive for in the current climate. But energy-efficient pumps on their own or even energy-efficient systems that have not been designed thoroughly can see the benefits of these sophisticated, high-efficiency components blighted by the expectation of them working alongside inefficient components of a system that negate their undoubted quality input.
It is vital that the pumps selected, however efficient they may be, contribute to the overall efficiency of the system they are identified for. In addition, all the components of a system should be understood in their own right, along with an understanding of the ability of those components to work well alongside one another so that, if possible, they optimise on the benefits of one another, to deliver the most efficient system possible, day to day for the customer.
For this reason, Wilo UK has consciously moved from the role of a pump manufacturer and supplier to that of a systems solutions provider, working closely with the customers and their teams. Increasingly we are working with partners to provide a larger part of a new system — where the pumps are integrated within the overall project, adding knowledge and expertise to those of other contributors to ensure that the response they provide matches the real requirements of the customer rather than the perceived requirements they may have.
Major savings can be made on a project by specifying pumps of the right size or capacity, rather than building in unnecessarily high capacity or integrity for the particular challenge that a system faces. Systems rarely operate at full capacity and if they do, rarely for long, so excess capacity can be an expensive and unnecessary inclusion when a less radical response might well suffice and deliver the response that the customer really needs at a lower cost.
An ‘off the shelf’ response to a major project will seldom deliver the ultimate response required, so developing an understanding of the project in its widest sense, of the individual elements and even components offered for the project is more important than ever to bring projects in on time and on budget. Multi-disciplinary teams can bring an in-depth understanding of a number of technologies and relevant experience from previous collaborations on projects that may be similar to the current challenge will greatly enhance the likelihood of achieving a superior outcome to the current project. Such an outcome will be achieved through the incorporation of components and sub-systems that are proven and able to illustrate having worked well together previously.
One such example is the recent close working relationship we have had with Complete Building Services (CBS) in Hertfordshire. Enfield Homes had given CBS the task of finding a way to provide mains water to a number of 13-storey tower blocks of apartments in North London, but using a system that had built-in reliability and which, at installation, would see mains water switched off from these apartments for the absolute minimum time. In this instance Wilo provided expertise on water-pressure boosting.
Many of the tenants in the blocks are elderly or vulnerable people, and access to drinking-water supplies is key. CBS was asked to provide a solution that would provide reliability, cost effectiveness and the minimum of disruption to the tenants in the nearly 400 apartments affected. CBS is well placed to deliver the complete package of support with its excavation, building and heating and plumbing expertise.
Enter Wilo UK with its comprehensive range of pressure boosting sets. Between us we selected the Comfort COR Helix VE speed-controlled pressure booster set. It was supplied with a CAVSA anti-surge valve to address the potential issue of hydraulic shock in the mains water system.
The pump set selected for this project combines three pumps. One pump acts as the lead pump, with another pump available if the call for water exceeds the capacity of that first pump. The third pump is‘standby’. All three pumps operate on a cycle, ensuring even wear across each of the pumps, with the added benefit that there is no stagnation of water, addressing any legionella bacteria issues in the system.
Pete Bradbury. a director with CBS, says that the company received plaudits from the client Enfield Homes for the speed of the job they undertook: ‘They were really impressed by the short downtime that was achieved on this job. The water was off for less than two hours whilst the old system was decommissioned and removed and the new one installed and powered up.’
Gary Wheatley is training and technical manager with Wilo UK.